This weekend sees the MountainBike Challenge Series back on the road after the well publicized cancellation of its European leg due to the recent tragic incidents in the French Alps. The series was due to start with the English leg but has now been extended into France, Italy and Switzerland as well. The organisers hope to bring the competition back to a successful conclusion in its home country by the end of the year. That is if the other countries can manage to get their act together and can carry out the races in a timely fashion.
In the meantime, the mountain bike challenge has started with the local organising committee calling for riders to sign up using the website tijdens de la premi faire which translates to "the beginning of the race". However, a week later, the challenge has extended to Switzerland and Italy with opening competitions already confirmed in Italy and Switzerland. The MountainBike Challenge has been joined by other successful road racing events such as the Tour de France bicycle race and the Tour of Flanders cycle race. It is hoped that this shows that mountain bikes have moved away from their traditional sport's image and are now able to stand up to road cycling.
So, how will the MountainBike Challenge fare in its first season back on the road? Well for starters it is important that the teams are fully ready to take on the challenge and that they are fully committed to competing at an optimum level. That means that the riders are fully trained and that they have been properly checked over by various medical staff, including doctors, to ensure they are fit for the competition and able to compete at their best. There is also a lot of emphasis on the safety of the racers and so the team riders are subject to random drug checks before being released for the race. There are also many safety factors involving the bikes and the team riders that the organisers want to stress to the teams and riders so that they are kept safe throughout the race.